Letter from Arthur Powell

Scope and Content

Arthur is now on active service in France. He begins his letter with 'Dear Mother and Father just received your letter of August 1st.' It is the first letter from his parents since before leaving England. He writes that his Battalion has now been attached to the 19th King's Liverpool (Liverpool Pals), as reported in the papers the Manchester Division has suffered heavy losses. They are to replace them in the trenches; they have travelled by foot and on rail and are now billeted in barns and stables, the surrounding area is being heavily bombarded both day and night. His friend Harry has managed to remain with him and they are on a course of 'Lewis Gunning' (a light American machine gun) training. All parcels now have to be carefully packaged and addressed. He is not impressed with the local French people; he describes them as, 'dirty and greasy' and describes them as living 'like pigs' who eat anything. He values the Englishwoman whom he sees as having pride and independence. He is pleased that a friend 'Len' has joined up, and apologises for his rough handwriting: the living conditions are poor.

on YMCA letter headed paper

Dated at: British Expeditionary Force, France.